Sister Judith Stoughton, CSJ, 1918-1991
Sr. Judith Stoughton was an art historian and author who taught at St. Catherine University for more than 40 years. She died of cancer on Sunday, September 1, 1991, at Bethany Convent in St. Paul.
A native of St. Paul, Sr. Judith grew up in the Midway area of St. Paul and attended Derham Hall High School. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1939, and received a bachelor's degree in art and English from St. Catherine University in 1944.She received a master's of fine arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts and also studied at the University of Minnesota, the University of California, and the University of Chicago.
In 1966, Sr. Judith received a Fulbright Scholarship and studied in France at the Sorbonne. In 1979, she went on a sabbatical and studied Asian art in Japan, Korea, and China. As a result, she organized an art exhibit at St. Catherine's in 1981 entitled "Three Women from Tokyo." Stoughton herself was an artist who specialized in silk screens, acrylic paintings and calligraphy.
Indeed, Sr. Judith came to see that God's special calling to her involved art and an obligation to serve God and one's neighbor. This call was reflected in her long friendship with, and admiration for, the work of Ade Bethune. Bethune's strong, simple woodcuts of the saints living out ageless stories of the works of mercy resonated with Judith's vision of life. Her 1988 biography of Ade Bethune, Proud Donkey of Shaerbeek, provides a significant legacy of Christian art reflecting both Bethune and Sr. Judith's commitment to the gospel.